The long awaited military exercise in the Niger Delta region was today launched by the Nigeria Military. The operation code named ‘Exercise Crocodile Smile’ was flagged off by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt General Tukur Burutai in Sapele, Delta State, South South ,Nigeria. While addressing the troops, the chief of army staff urged to them to go the extra length to respect the rights of law abiding citizens in their area of operation as this will to a large extent determine the success of the operation.
In his words ‘We are in Warri to flag-off this exercise in order to get our troops prepared for any eventuality .“We need to keep our country safe. We need to get our economy going without any interruption,” he said.
Earlier in the day, the Chief of Army Staff and his team visited the Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa and the Olu of Warri, Godfrey Ikenwoli Emiko to briefed them on the exercise.
At the end of the meeting with the Governor, Lieutenant General Buratai expressed hopes that the outcome of the exercise will usher in the much needed peace and stability needed in the region.
“We hope that the economy will come up again and the facilities and the infrastructures in terms of the oil and gas will be protected and the people around will go about their normal businesses without fear of any attack.
“We hope that this will other investors to come around and that those companies that have already declared force majeure,” he told reporters.
It will be recalled that oil installations in the Niger Delta region has in recent times come under increased attack by various militant groups based in the region. The President Buhari led Federal government has held series of discussions with stakeholders, Traditional leaders and elected officials to find an end to the crisis which is hurting the Nigeria economy.
This will be the second military operation in the region. Operation Delta Safe was first set up to also quell the resurgence of militancy. ‘Exercise Crocodile Smile’ the code name for the current operation is mandated to provide adequate security for residents as well as critical national economic assets in the region.